We awoke at 0700 intending to be moving by 0800 to the office of Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia. I know Phil through my years as an elected official of Cobb County which he serves. One of his lovely daughters, Phyllis, served in my courtroom as a representative of the Circuit Defender and did a great job. So naturally they rolled out the red carpet to provide a tour of the US Capitol Building. We were to be there by 0930 to begin.
Unfortunately no-one consulted Alex on this schedule. He woke up this mooring claiming a stomach ache and said we could just go without him and leave him alone on the boat. Yeah like that was ever going to happen.
Now for those of you familiar with Alex who have heard my story of Alex being forced to eat sweet potatoes with brown sugar after he said brown sugar made him sick, you know that my policy in dealing with Alex is to let him eat what he wants and do not ignore his statements that he feels sick. We carry large plastic Folgers Coffee containers in all vehicles for emergencies. Even Daisy when she was with us knew to stand back when he said he felt like he was going to puke. Well you get the picture so he was not going to the Capitol even if Speaker Boehner was going to personally conduct the tour.
So at 0815 I set out alone on my bike to the Cannon Office Building for a private tour of one. I was met by Congressional Aide Catherine and we began our tour. First it was hot as blazes outside and so muggy you would sweat through your clothes in minutes. Typical DC summer day. But we did not go outside. We walked through a secret tunnel that is only for Congressmen and staff to go to and from the Capitol. I knew this was going to be special.
Somehow this next paragraph got out of order and I cannot move it so use your imagination please.
We entered the new Capitol Visitors’ Center and already thousands of citizens were queuing up in security lines like at Disney World and would wait hours to enter and look at the exhibits. Not us. We bypassed all that and as guards saw my guide’s special badge they could not have been more cordial, unlike the lady Gestapo who greeted us at the National Archives yesterday. I did not tell you that story, but if it had not been for Alex I would have exercised my freedom of speech within sight of the actual Bill of Rights. But I digress.
I saw where the Supreme Court met when they were housed in the Capitol, where the Senate met long before we had fifty states, where the presidents used to lay in state and where the reception is held for the newly sworn in President. I saw where Governor Romney will stand and receive members of Congress.
After the tour I went to the Congressional Gift Shop and got Alex copies of the documents he had seen at the Archives yesterday.
Jan had given me a grocery list in case I found a store. Unfortunately the Harris Teeter was miles away but no trouble for a fellow who just came off a week of riding far more miles each day. So I set off to find it and got an opportunity to see sections of DC often not seen by tourists. There were beautiful homes and squalid projects. All so close they could see one another. What interesting juxtaposition of economy.
And that was primarily our day as Alex slept most of it away. Not that we minded because everyone needed some rest. Lesson learned: you can pack too much into one day and suffer for it the following day. So the pace will slow down.
Now tomorrow we will shoot for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving where Dr. Bell has instructed me to ask for samples, the Holocaust Museum and the White House.